By David Madden

By David Madden

TRENTON, N.J. (CBS) — New Jersey has increased the assessment on damages wrought by Hurricane Sandy.

Last week, Gov. Chris Christie pegged the preliminary number at $29.4 billion (see related story) and warned at the time that it was likely to go up.

It did, to $36.8 billion.

“We’re embarking on a serious and necessary path that’s going to require a great deal of federal assistance, which I will personally advocate for in addition to members of our congressional delegation,” the governor said Wednesday.

Christie is also calling on former assistant state attorney general Mark Ferzan to manage the state’s long-term recovery effort, and Witt Associates — which helped Louisiana in its Katrina recovery — to do the same in New Jersey.

Christie says he’s confident the state’s representatives in Washington get the severity of the situation and will work together to maximize the federal government’s role in paying the bulk of the bill.

Christie says more than 30,000 homes or businesses were destroyed or sustained substantial damage from last month’s storm.

The governor says the Federal Emergency Management Agency has distributed more than $500 million in aid since the storm and 230,000 New Jerseyans have registered for assistance.

The financial tally is higher than neighboring New York’s. Earlier this week, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that Superstorm Sandy ran up a bill of $32 billion in his state.

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